To understand each party’s priorities for public transit, we sent them a questionnaire on the topics below. Responses have been uploaded in the language that they were received in. To view the responses submitted in French, click FR in the top right-hand corner of your screen.
Does your party support extending federal operating support for public transit, in partnership with provinces and territories, until ridership returns to pre-pandemic levels?
Public transit is an essential service that Canadians rely on every day to get to work, school, appointments and see loved ones. It is also critical to making our communities more inclusive, livable, and clean, and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Shortly after the pandemic hit, the Liberal government quickly entered into the Safe Restart Agreements with provinces and territories to invest in key priorities so our economies could keep moving and our country could become more resilient to future surges of COVID-19. This included making $2.3 billion available to cost-match provincial and territorial contributions to public transit operating costs. This funding has helped ensure the safety of public transit workers and riders, and prevented service reductions.
An elected Liberal government would continue working with provinces, territories, municipalities and public transit authorities to ensure essential services like public transit can continue during the pandemic and adapt where appropriate. While public transit operations are a provincial responsibility, the Liberal Party recognizes circumstances where federal support in provincial and territorial responsibilities may be required.
Municipalities are making investments in public transit in their communities. But they need a federal partner to champion public transit throughout the country. New Democrats believe that public transit is vital to boosting local economies, supporting climate change initiatives, and reducing systemic inequities that disproportionately hurt people who live in marginalized communities and rely on public transit as their primary commuting option.
If elected, a NDP government will permanently double the Canada Community-Building Fund to support investments in important municipal priorities like transit.
New Democrats have set a goal of electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030, and we will also work towards providing fare-free transit in partnership with provinces, territories, and local communities to encourage people to use public transit without worry about cost barriers.
Permanent transit fund
Does your party support continuing with the Permanent Transit Fund?
Permanent Public Transit Fund The Liberal Party committed to permanent federal funding for public transit infrastructure in its 2019 platform and has kept that promise. In February 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the creation of a $3 billion annual permanent public transit fund starting in 2026, funding which is being provided in addition to:
- $28.7 billion from 2016-2028 for public transit infrastructure under the Investing in Canada Plan;
- $5.9 billion from 2021-2026 for major public transit projects, zero emission buses, active transportation infrastructure and rural public transit solutions;
- $5 billion for public transit infrastructure projects through the Canada Infrastructure Bank;
- $2.2 billion annual Gas Tax Fund, recently rebranded to the Canada Community Building Fund, which many communities chose to allocate to public transit infrastructure projects, which was doubled in the year 2021.
An elected Liberal government will maintain this funding and establish the permanent public transit fund beginning in 2026. Infrastructure Canada will work with provinces, territories, municipalities, local governments, Indigenous communities, transit agencies, policy experts and other stakeholders to develop programming for the $3 billion in permanent public transit funding in a manner that offers the greatest benefits to Canadians. Consultations on the design of the new permanent transit funding have already begun to address how all orders of government can work in partnership to get the most out of investments in public transit.
Yes, we agree with providing further supports to municipalities including with the Permanent Transit Fund.
Does your party support continued support for transit electrification, and if so, how?
The Liberal Party recognizes the critical role that public transit plays in Canada reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net-zero by 2050. With the transportation sector accounting for 25% of Canada’s emissions, we know that investing to electrify our public transit networks will not only help us achieve our climate targets, but also create jobs and make our communities safer and cleaner.
An elected Liberal government will continue implementing the $2.75 billion fund to electrify our public transit systems, as promised in our 2019 platform and announced in March 2021. This funding, along with an additional $2 billion through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, supports our commitment to incentivize the purchase of 5,000 zero emission buses over five years.
Additionally, we have committed that new federal investments in public transit are used to support zero-emission buses and rail systems, save for exceptional circumstances such as rural transit systems that may require additional time to transition to zero emission systems. Electrification of transportation networks, including public transit systems, will also receive further consideration in Canada’s first National Infrastructure Assessment.
New Democrats know that the pandemic and climate crisis have affected everyone. We recognize that travel is a necessity for people living in rural areas – it opens up economic opportunities, helps people get specialized health care when they need it, and reduces to vehicle GHG emissions.
Rural communities in Canada have been underserved and de-prioritized for transit planning. That’s why New Democrats fought to save Greyhound routes, and why we remain committed to developing a public inter-city bus system.
The federal government is helping create new transit systems in smaller, rural communities that are currently without. Starting this year, it will provide $250 million over five years to expand rural transit. How would your party expand rural transit, and does it support this fund?
In March 2021, our government announced the creation of Canada’s first dedicated fund to develop and implement rural public transit solutions. The fund includes $250 million over five years to help address the transit needs of Canadians living in rural, remote and small communities, such as on-demand services, to publicly-owned, electric vehicle ride shares, and volunteer community car-pooling.
This funding builds on progress made under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, which has supported transit projects in smaller communities, from a bus in Selkirk, Manitoba, to a Handi-Van in Fort Frances, Ontario, which helps seniors get around town with accessible options. We heard loud and clear from rural, remote and small communities that more funding is needed to support unique transportation solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so a flexible, dedicated Rural Transit Fund will help fund creative projects that address the unique needs of communities.
An elected Liberal government would continue funding public transit projects in rural communities through the Rural Public Transit Fund until 2026 and Investing in Canada Plan until 2028.
Yes, New Democrats know that electrifying transit is the path forward to meeting our climate targets, helping communities have access to affordable commutes, and stimulating the economy.
New Democrats will scale up low carbon transit projects like zero-emissions buses and electric trains, with the goal of electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030. We will also create a Canada Climate Bank to expand supports for green initiatives.
Does your party support proceeding with the High-Frequency Rail project?
The Liberal Party has committed to create high-frequency rail for the Toronto-Quebec City corridor, with the aim of reducing trip times by 25%. Most recently, in July 2021, our government announced the launch of the procurement process and stated that 90% of the line is likely to be electric. An elected Liberal government will support the next steps on this significant infrastructure project
New Democrats support proceeding with the high-frequency rail between Quebec City and Toronto along the Quebec-Windsor corridor. We know that Canadians have been waiting for reliable, fast rail service for too long. The current developments related to the high-frequency project were stalled for years under the Liberals because it was not considered a priority and, conveniently, received renewed attention only right before this election was called.
New Democrats will provide consistent support to move the Quebec-Toronto-Windsor high frequency rail projects forward. We are committed to electrification of transportation to help Canada fight the climate crisis and reduce emissions.